PNP chief: Relationship with Aquino just ‘professional’

Bea Cupin
PNP chief: Relationship with Aquino just ‘professional’
President Benigno Aquino III and PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima have known each other since 1987. The police chief thanks the President and the PNP for the support and trust.

MANILA, Philippines – Despite facing 3 plunder complaints and a barrage of corruption allegations, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima will not step down. Neither will he be taking a leave of absence.

But he said it’s not just because he’s good friends with President Benigno Aquino III.

Ang ating relasyon sa ating Pangulo ay isang propesyonal na relasyon (My relationship with the President is purely professional),” Purisima told reporters on Thursday, October 2, in a press conference.

Tayo’y nagtatrabaho, tayo’y itinalaga dito sa kanyang paniniwala na ipatutupad ko ang tunay na daan dito sa PNP (I’m working here, I was appointed because of the President’s belief that I can implement his vision of a straight path),” he added.

The police chief also thanked the President and the PNP for the support and trust. “His Excellency, kahit kailan po hindi ko sinira ang tiwala niyo sa akin (I never gave you a reason not to trust me),” said Purisima.

Aquino has been defending Purisima since the corruption allegations first aired and afterwards, plunder complaints were filed. “Hindi po natin kilala ang taong ito bilang maluho o matakaw (We do not know this person to be luxurious or greedy),” Aquino said on September 23.

In a separate press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr said the President continues to trust Purisima, adding that “like all public officials, General Purisima is accountable for all of his actions under our existing laws.”

Since 1987

Purisima’s Thursday statement sought to downplay his friendship with the President.

When Purisima was appointed in December 2012, Aquino said of him: “Buhat noon [1987] hindi na po matatawaran ang aming naging samahan at ugnayan. Mula man sa poder o sa katungkulan, alam naming masasandigan namin ang isa’t isa tungo sa tuwid at tama para sa ating mga kababayan.”

(Since then, nothing can detract from our friendship and ties. Whether stemming from power or duty, we know we can trust each other to do what is right for our countrymen.)

The two first met in 1987, when Purisima was a member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and Aquino, the only son of the late Corazon Aquino. Purisima was tasked to guard the young Aquino then.

Purisima was unable to address the allegations against him right away, since he was out of the country for official business the very same week media exposes first aired.

The PNP chief and the President met for the first time on Monday, September 29, the day before he was set to face the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Coloma said the president told Purisima he needed to tell the “whole truth” about the controversies surrounding him. (READ: PNP chief’s net worth: P6.6 million in 2013)

At nakita naman po natin na noong siya ay humarap sa pagdinig ng Senado ay tumugon siya sa lahat ng tanong hinggil dito,” added Coloma. (We saw that when he faced the Senate hearing, Purisima answered all the questions about it.)

Corruption, indirect bribery

Purisima is accused of profiting from an allegedly anomalous deal in Camp Crame, of indirect bribery over the construction of his official residence inside the camp, and of under-valuing a property in Nueva Ecija.

Complainants alleged Purisima’s income – P6.6 million according to his 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth – does not match his lifestyle.

Before the Senate and during the press briefing, Purisima insisted everything was above board.

This, despite his admission that the new “White House” was fully-funded by his friends in the construction industry and that he got a huge discount for a vehicle he purchased in 2013.

Senators who led the hearing were also left dissatisfied with Purisima’s answers. Sergio Osmeña III, after grilling Purisima on the “White House” and its donors, told him: “I don’t believe you.” – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.